You own your thought. So now you got to get up and get what you want in order to achieve you got to take the chance, believing you are not the one to say you can't. You can because you know your dreams as if life is a field in which you plant the seed, you cultivate it into your reali-tree, then reap the fruits of being who you are to be.
Work hard, dig deep and soon you'll reach and rule your destiny.
The above words are the first verse and start of the chorus for one of Cezar's newest songs, "Rule your destiny" on the Rockfort riddim (full disclosure: I am co-founder of RealVibez Records with Cezar). Last week my column was the presentation I was using for fifth form students at Campion College and this week my column is based on the presentation I gave to UWI's Young Investors Club last Thursday.
It was titled "Rule Your Destiny: Upstarts and the challenge to think big", tied to Cezar's song that I felt was extremely relevant to anyone hoping to achieve anything of significance. The "upstarts" part comes from the book "Upstarts" written in the USA by Donna Fenn, a contributing editor to Inc Magazine and that mentions my brother and I and a take on startups.
One of my mentors, Richard M Powell, gave me a list of books to read that he was given by his mentors and has kept updating the list. One of the first books was Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The basic concept of the book is that there are four quadrants you can earn money from, E - Employee, S - Self-employed, B - Business owner and I - Investor. We are traditionally taught to go to school, graduate and get a job or get a profession, become Es and Ss. That is all well and good but the people who create wealth and are able to donate lots of money to charity and employ people are all in the B and I quadrants.
Your goal is to attempt to derive income from as many quadrants as possible. If you are an S, such as a doctor with a private practice, then when you take a vacation your pay also takes a vacation. A doctor with a private practice hiring other doctors makes you a B, a business owner. Money however cannot be the main reason you choose to do something. It does not create happiness, it can only help to increase the chance of happiness, provided you do certain things and avoid other things. Of course not worrying about bills each month makes it easier to be happy.
If you set out only to create wealth for yourself then you may succeed but you will not be happy because you cannot spend all that money on yourself and there is always more to be made. Instead, set out to create wealth so that you can give back, pay it forward, help others and uplift others. Have a deeper reason for working towards your wealth goals.
There are essentially four ways to become wealthy: be born into it, win it, create it through smart work or invest in someone who creates it. You only have control over two of those. The people who invested in Amazon.com in the very early stages are not complaining about US$45,000 turning them into multi-millionaires worth over US$100 million. They could not do it themselves so they invested in someone they trusted to work smart, hard and execute the plan outlined.
You can be an E or S and still invest to create wealth. There are some specific traits that I believe are critical for success in a career or in business, the first being perseverance. How many of us know how WD-40 got it's name? It means "water displacement 40th formula." Yes, the inventor failed 39 times! Thomas Edison took 1,000 attempts to invent the lightbulb and when a reporter asked him what it felt like to fail 1000 times he simply replied "I didn't fail 1000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1000 steps."
Too many of us are taught that failure is a bad thing. The only real failure is the person who never tries because they are guaranteed to fail. Confucius supposedly said that "our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
The second trait is patience. It took patience for Edison to fail 500 times and still keep trying because he was convinced he could succeed. Most of know the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling but few people know what she went through. Like any overnight success and rags to riches story it took years. She was a single mother on welfare in the UK and decided to write a story that came to her. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the story about a boy wizard that she came up with and completed in 1995.
Filled with enthusiasm she submitted to a publisher and was rejected. The book was rejected by a total of 12 publishers. It was only one year later that she finally got an acceptance and now Harry Potter is one of the best selling series ever, she is a billionaire and a major donor to a number of charities.
How many of you would be patient enough to spend a year trying to get your book published, even as you were rejected by 12 publishers? That is the difference between those who achieve great things and those who remain average: perseverance and patience.
The final trait I wish to mention is innovation. You do not have to repeat what has been done before but instead adapt to change. Technology has provided new ways or faster ways of doing some things. Things like crowd-funding did not exist five years ago where you could bypass the middlemen and go straight to your potential consumers for funds. Jamaica did not have a Junior Stock Exchange designed for startups to raise money.
Do not waste the opportunity that your generation has. Eleven years ago when I started my first company, I wish I had the opportunities you have now. Read widely, expose yourself to the failures and successes of others. Do not be afraid to fail, ignore the naysayers, persevere, be patient, find something you are passionate about and then work smart.
Create wealth for you, your family and your investors. Then give back to society and help some more people achieve their goals. Have an impact, leave a mark and try to be above average. As Jamaicans we must think big because we have done great things many times before.
Bob Marley, who got little support in Jamaica at first, playing music that people thought was bad for the children, achieved greatness that he never expected. When the Berlin wall fell they sang Three Little Birds for hours. When the Chinese students, monks and workers marched in Tiananmen Square in 1989, many were chanting "Get up stand up for your rights" and a few carried a poster bearing the image of Bob Marley. When Marley records arrived in South Africa during Apartheid the customs officials would use razor blades to cut across the tracks of the records so that they could not play properly on radio. Black people were gaining inspiration from the music to fight the oppressive system.
Don't ever say that you are just in little Jamaica and so what can you do to impact the world. Asafa Powell holds the record for the most sub-10 second 100m runs in the history of the sport. Not most for Jamaica, half of all the runs by anyone, period. He never told himself that he is just from Jamaica. We have the fastest man and woman alive. We have music that has penetrated every corner of the earth.
You can be successful at anything you set out to do provided you are willing to fail, fall, get up, dust yourself off and keep on trying to rule your destiny.
"How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success" - Elbert Hubbard
David Mullings is President and CEO of Keystone Augusta and was the first Future Leaders Representative for the USA on the Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board. He can be found at facebook.com/InteractiveDialogue and Twitter.com/davidmullings